Charter UK urges telecoms companies to treat their customers fairly.

Mon 14th January 2013

Ofcom is planning a crackdown on companies who lock customers into lengthy fixed-term contracts, only to increase the fees after the first year and impose financial penalties if they try to switch to another provider. 

Paul Clark, CEO of Charter UK, says that whilst it is encouraging that the telecoms regulator has suggested it may act to ban these practices Ofcom needs to investigate how this has been allowed to happen in the first place and that the sector should adopt the Financial Service Authorities (FSA) approach to customer fairness. 

"Telecoms is not as tightly regulated as many other industries," he points out. "In financial services, for example, the FSA expects businesses to demonstrate fairness to its customers through its Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) initiative. 

"Even though the financial services industry clearly has its own scandals to deal with, it is taking steps to address its problems. The telecoms industry should take note and consider what lessons can be learnt from this positive approach." 

Mr Clark suggests that to begin this process telecoms companies need to take much greater ownership of the problem and achieve executive level buy-in. "Once this has been achieved, it will be vital to implement the right systems, processes and changes to management culture in order to reduce the number of unresolved complaints being passed to Ofcom," he says. 

"It is a lengthy and complicated process, but one that is key to improving the image of the key players in this sector, and also the industry as a whole."